Utah attorney fighting marriage equality places religious conviction above Constitution

The attorney leading the fight to defend Utah’s laws barring same-sex marriage, admits his motivation for taking the case against same sex marriage is religious, and stems from his desire to uphold the anti-gay sentiment of his Mormon faith.

In a leaked email Gene Schaerr, the lead outside attorney appealing the December 20 decision in Kitchen v. Herbert in which a U.S. District Court judge struck down the Utah constitutional provision prohibiting same-sex marriage, told his former law firm he was leaving to fulfill “a religious and family duty” to defend “traditional marriage.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) notes:

“It’s alarming that the reason Gene Schaerr gives for  taking this position has nothing to do with the U.S. Constitution or the legal issues at play,” said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President of Communications. “Schaerr’s entire motivation for taking this anti-equality case is to impose a certain religious viewpoint on all Utahns – and that’s wrong. When you become an attorney, you take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, not any particular religious doctrine.”

For Schaerr to admit his personal religious beliefs are the rationale behind his decision to quit his job and become the lead counsel on the State of Utah’s case against marriage equality reveals a profound failure to understand and respect the principles upon which this nation was founded.

As an agent of the state, Schaerr’s duty is to uphold the U.S.Constitution. To use his position representing the state to promote his own particular brand of religious bigotry is obnoxious.

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